Protocol - Under what circumstances does enhancing community accountability and empowerment improve education outcomes, particularly for the poor?

This paper, written by Dr Gill Westhorp, Bill Walker and Professor Patricia Rogers for University of London EPPI-Centre, provides a protocol for a realist synthesis on community accountability and empowerment interventions in education in middle and low income countries and the circumstances in which these improve outcomes, particularly for the poor. 


"Community accountability and empowerment have been seen as potential solutions to address widespread problems in education in low and middle-income countries. Problems have included low levels of student participation, low quality teaching, teacher absence and loss of instructional time, insufficient resources (including failure to allocate resources and the misdirection of allocated resources), and lack of parent involvement in and support for education. A variety of community accountability and empowerment policies, strategies, and interventions (hereafter, for simplicity, 'interventions') have been developed in response to these problems. Many of these interventions are not unique to the education sector, and originate within a set of established or emerging fields, variously known as 'participatory governance', 'social accountability', 'transparency and accountability', 'voice and accountability', and 'active citizenship'. The methods, policies, and theory or discourses of interventions in these fields are often shared or at least overlap. However they are applied in different parts of a policy cycle, at differing levels of governance and are initiated or used by diverse sets of actors in a wide array of contexts. Further, methodologically diverse approaches are applied to monitor and evaluate interventions, and it is not always clear exactly how the interventions generate outcomes in particular domains, such as education." (Westhorp, Walker & Rogers, 2012)


  • Background
    • Aims and rationale for current review
    • Definitional and conceptual issues
    • Policy and practice background
    • Research background
    • Authors, funders, and other users of the review
    • Review questions
  • Methods used in the review
    • Realist synthesis methodology
    • User involvement
    • Identifying and describing studies
    • In-depth review
  • Appendix 1. Initial Rough Theory
  • Appendix 2. Draft Coding Guide


Westhorp, G.; Walker, B.; Rogers, P., (2012), Protocol - Under what circumstances does enhancing community accountability and empowerment improve education outcomes, particularly for the poor? EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK (2012) 53 pp. Retrieved from:

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